Olympus swimming continues heavyweight statusMar 30, 2023 02:47PM ● By Daniel Olsen
Olympus High girls swim team captain and 5A Women’s Swimmer of the Year Maddy Parker. (Courtesy Ashley MacDonald)
The Olympus Titans are to the point where their boys and girls swim teams can be penciled in as the 5A State Champions at the start of every year. 2023 was an exception as the girls and boys teams took second and third respectively.
“I was extremely happy with performances of both teams at the State Championship,” Olympus swimming coach Tom Thorum said. “Both teams exceeded my hopes for the season.”
While the girls team was just short of winning the team title, the Titans still finished well overall with strong individual performances. One swimmer on the girls team in particular stood out in several swimming events.
“For the women, the MVP was team captain Maddy Parker,” Thorum said. “She was named the 5A Women’s Swimmer of the Year. She set Utah All Classification records in the 50 freestyle with a 23.14. She was also the first girl in Utah prep history to go under 50 seconds in the 100 meter freestyle with an All-American time of 49.96. She also had the season top time in the 500 meter freestyle with a 5:03.24. She also had near top times in all eight individual events. She also anchored two first place relays that set school records and just missed the women’s 400 freestyle state relay record by .11. Numerous D1 college programs vigorously recruited Maddy. Maddy will attend Washington State University in the fall on a swimming scholarship. She is among the best female swimmers in Utah High School swimming history.”
The boys team for Olympus had strong individual performances as well from team captain and MVP Ian Conner.
“Ian had top performances in all eight individual events for the season,” Thorum said. “At State, Ian won the 200 freestyle with a season best 1:41.42 and was second in the 100 meter freestyle with a season best 46.56. Ian anchored the 200 freestyle relay and first place in the 400 meter freestyle relay. Most of all, Ian led the men’s team athletically and academically. Ian will swim for Pomona College in Claremont, California in the fall.”
Conner and the team knew going into this season that there would be big shoes to fill from the championship caliber teams before them.
“You could say something about it being a little bit of a struggle making up for all the seniors we lost last year,” Conner said. “Our team was still able to perform and show everyone what we could do.”
Beyond the accolades, several memories will captivate yet another successful season for the Titans. Team culture, above all, is what can make a high school athletics experience great.
“We have developed a special team culture this year,” Thorum said. “This team stands out for its camaraderie and positive approach to training and competition. This team was really fun to coach.”
While the team has been successful, the coaching staff is anything but complacent in their efforts to continue to improve the program. They are constantly looking to enhance different aspects of their training process.
“Our teams have traditionally been smaller in terms of numbers,” Thorum said. “This year, we added Zofi Niemczak to our coaching staff. She is fantastic. With Zofi’s help, we feel we can better develop our new swimmers and successfully grow the size of our program without sacrificing quality or performance.”
While it is important to rest up for the following year after the state meet, the team is already discussing what went well and how they can prepare to come back stronger the following season. It starts, quick as it may sound, with the culmination of the previous season.
“We start preparation for the next season on the bus ride home from the State Championship,” Thorum said. “We are talking with the swimmers about what worked and what didn’t work. We make changes and we plan fun team building activities. This is a great time for swimmers to join the program to swim next year.”
While coaching requires much time, the motives behind it are what keeps this team running like a well-oiled machine.
“I enjoy coaching for what it teaches me about the human condition,” Thorum said. “For me, it’s truly gratifying to see these young people explore what they’re made of.”
While this season is over, there are still ways for people in the Millcreek area and beyond to support this team as well as the Olympus Aquatics programs that develops these athletes.
“Our practices and meets are always open to spectators,” Thorum said. “Additionally, our meets are often streamed on GOLS.com. This is a live-streaming website that does an awesome job of bringing events to people at home.”
While the athletes and coaches put a great deal of effort into their craft, the administration at Olympus High School has helped foster a winning culture in athletics and academics.
“The Olympus High School swim team owes its consistent success to the excellent administration at Olympus High School,” Thorum said. “Specifically, Principal Jennifer Christiansen and Athletic Director Kael Ashton ensure these student-athletes are on track. Second, Olympus Aquatics is doing an amazing job of developing young swimmers for successful high school and college swimming experiences.”